The Pagemaster

NC the Pagemaster by MaroBot.jpg

March 31, 2009
Running time
Previous review
Next review

NC: Hello, I’m the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don’t have to. We all liked Michael Jackson at some point, didn’t we? But that doesn’t mean he can just throw any crap on the screen and expect us to buy it! That’s why I have some serious hang-ups with Moonwalker.

(Clips of The Pagemaster are shown instead as NC speaks)

NC (voiceover): One of the strangest and most bizarre—um…this isn’t Moonwalker.

NC: So, what the hell were up with those clips? (looks offscreen as though someone were whispering to him) Huh? The Pagemaster? I never watched any Pagemaster. I did? Well, what was it about? Oh! Oh, yeah, the, the Home Alone kid, the…reading adventure, yeah. OK. Um…The Pagemaster! Yeah, what a…what a memorable movie that was! Hehehe. (Beat) OK, by that total lack of memory, you can probably tell this movie didn’t exactly leave much of an impact.

(More clips of the movie are shown.)

NC (voiceover): And why should it? It’s boring! Nothing’s developed, nothing’s structured, nothing’s…anything! It’s pretty much just a film fart: it happens, it’s unpleasant, but you forget about it just a few moments later.

NC: It was a strange attempt to try and get children to read more; a noble cause, but a botched-up delivery. So, let's take a look at why The Pagemaster is not only dull, but why it’s…REALLY dull.

(The movie begins)

NC (voiceover): Let’s take a look at our first problem: the producer, Ted Turner. (The credit “In association with Turner Pictures, Inc.” is shown)

NC: Goddamn it, stop trying to educate us, Ted Turner! (a bit of the Captain Planet cartoon intro is shown) You are not good at it!

NC (voiceover): The second major problem is the title. I mean…The Pagemaster? Even that sounds boring. It sounds like a fake award you give out for a library’s Employee of the Month.

NC: (pretends to hold a plaque in his hands) For not missing a single day’s work, we knight you as “The Pagemaster”! (He lightly applauds)

NC (voiceover): Anyway, we cut to our hero, played by Macaulay Culkin, named Rich.

NC: Oh, God! Not another Richie Rich movie! There’s only so much Culkin I can take in a year!

NC (voiceover): No, his name is Rich Tyler, and he’s in trouble because he has one of the typical syndromes that every child movie character had in the ‘90s. (He lists off the following as the accompanying text appears onscreen) Is it A. He’s a geek, B. He’s a Scaredy Cat, C. He’s socially awkward, or D. All of the above?

NC: If you guessed “D,” (the selection “D. All of the above” is shown) I apologize in advance.

NC (voiceover): So as the credits roll, we see his father is upset because Richard seems to be more occupied with fearful statistics than he is with just being a little kid.

Alan Tyler (Ed Begley, Jr.): (to his wife Claire in bed) I signed him up for Little League, he drove everybody crazy with statistics about how you can develop tumors from being hit in the head with a ball. (Richard is listening outside the bedroom) Claire, he brought in a medical journal. And now I’m building him a tree house in a tree he refuses to climb! I don’t know. I just want to be a good father.

NC: (as Alan) But I just HATE HIM SO MUCH!

NC (voiceover): So to help him overcome his fears, we see his father try to help build Richard a tree house. But that doesn’t seem to work out very well.

Alan: (to Richard while kneeling at the tree house entrance) Look. (He pushes against the wooden structure of the tree house to test for stability) Solid as a rock.

Richard: Dad, 8% of all household accidents involve ladders. Another 3%...

NC: Wow! I despise him already!

Richard: You’re looking into an 11% probability here.

NC: Look, kid, you’re not Al Gore! Stop throwing numbers around pretending they can hurt you!

(Cut to Richard holding a rope that’s attached to a metal bucket held high above Alan, and Richard is distracted)

Alan: Rich!

Richard: Huh?

(Richard lets go of the rope, the bucket falls onto Alan’s head, and Alan falls forward on the ladder and onto the ground)

Richard: Can’t argue with statistics, Dad.

(NC sarcastically chuckles a bit)

Alan: Here’s something you can do. Go down to Guttman’s hardware store. Buy a pound of these [nails].

NC: And stab yourself repeatedly with them!

Richard: Dad!

Alan: Son, you can’t live your life based on statistics. Now, come on, buddy. (He holds up some dollar bills in his hand) You can do this. (He hands the money to Richard)

NC (voiceover): (as Richard) Alright, but if I get sucked into a contrived animated adventure, I’m blaming you. (normal) So we see Richard riding to the hardware store as apparently everything’s trying to kill him for some reason.

(Lightning strikes a tree behind Richard as he stands at the entrance to a tunnel; a lightning strikes an electrical box high up on a telephone pole; lights inside the tunnel explode with sparks as Richard rides through the tunnel)

NC (voiceover): (speaks in a deep voice as if he were God) God is not pleased with you, Culkin! I will smite you before you make the “Nutcracker” movie! “Getting Even with Dad”? I’m getting even with you! (A tree branch falls in front of Richard, who quickly avoids it) Good Son? Good-bye! (He laughs as Richard hits something and falls to the ground) I got a million of them. I am God, you know.

NC (voiceover): (Normal) Unable to go any further, Richard pulls over to the creepiest library he could find.

Richard: (steps inside the dark library and calls out) Hello?

NC (voiceover): (as Richard) There better not be anything whimsical in here!

(The lights are turned on)

NC (voiceover): (normal) He comes across a librarian, played by Vladimir Lenin (Lenin’s photo is shown briefly)—I mean, Christopher Lloyd, who tries to get to know him better, but maybe a little too much.

Mr. Dewey (Lloyd): You’re in need of…of fantasy! (NC looks disturbed) Brave knights! (He starts approaching Richard)

Richard: (starts to walk backwards) Look, all I want is…

Mr. Dewey: Adventure! (NC reacts with surprise) Of course! (NC shifts his eyes in confusion) You’re a boy who loves adventure!

Richard: (moves out of Mr. Dewey’s way) No, no! That’s not it.

Mr. Dewey: Horror.

NC: (gets scared) Oh, Jesus.

Mr. Dewey: Ahh, horror. (He approaches Richard again) Wretched monsters! (NC shifts back, feeling scared now) Graveyards! Yes!

NC: (as Richard) I NEED AN ADULT!

Mr. Dewey: It’s horror for you, boy. (He nods) I’m sure of it.

NC: …I think we need a “Sonic Says” right now.

(The “Sonic Says” portion of the “The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog” cartoon plays)

Sonic: (speaks while intercutting with footage of Mr. Dewey approaching Richard) Kids, there’s nothing more cool than being hugged by someone you like. But if someone tries to touch you in a place or in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, that’s no good! It’s your body! No one has the right to touch you if you don’t want them to. So what do you do? You get outta there! (runs offscreen)

(Back to the movie)

Richard: But I don’t want any books.

Mr. Dewey: Hmm?

Richard: That’s what I’m trying to tell you. I only came in here ‘cause of the storm.

Mr. Dewey: You mean you don’t read? (He smacks his lips) I see.

NC: (as Mr. Dewey) That’s fine, that’s fine. (He looks off screen camera right) Ooh, a little girl! (He gets up to leave with his arms raised) YOU are looking for adventure!

NC (voiceover): So Richard stumbles around and finds a ceiling full of images that I’m sure won’t be reappearing in this movie. But things suddenly go strange—imagine that—as the ceiling starts melting and filling up the room with colorful ooze. (The colors mold together to form an animated rainbow dragon that pursues Richard throughout the library) Is it me, or does this look like the evil opening to “Reading Rainbow”?

NC (voiceover): (speaks demonically as the synthesizer music from the Reading Rainbow theme song plays) Take a look! It’s in a book! Reading Rainbow!

(The colors eventually come upon Richard and collide into him before the whole screen becomes blue; the movie becomes animated from this point on)

NC (voiceover): When Richard wakes up, he sees he’s transformed into a comical cartoon puppet. So really, what changed?

Pagemaster: You…are an illustration.

NC: (as the Pagemaster) A corporate tool used by studios to make money.

NC (voiceover): So Toilet Paper-beard reveals himself as the Pagemaster, master of the written word.

Richard: Maybe you can show me the way out?

Pagemaster: Fiction A to Z, where your journey begins. (He magically brings out a library cart to have Richard get on and ride through the library) To find your way home, you must face three tests: Horror, Adventure and Fantasy. (He magically disappears)

NC: (as the Pagemaster) Or you can make a left at Sci-Fi and exit through the door. (He sounds mystical as he waves his hands in circles and wiggles his fingers) But it’s so less incredible!

NC (voiceover): So he bumps into a talking book simply named Adventure, voiced by Patrick Stewart, who really knows how to put the “dick” in “dictionary”.

Richard: Look, all I want to do is get outta here.

Adventure: Of course you do, matey! (laughs) We all do! But this is a library, mate. Nothing is as it seems.

NC: (as Adventure) For example, the Kids section is really the Porno section! We get a lot of complaints about that.

NC (voiceover): He also comes across another talking book named Fantasy, voiced by Whoopi Goldberg.

Fantasy: (grunts in frustration to herself as she tidies herself) Now I gotta straighten out my “Little Mermaid” underwear.

NC: Please don’t make me think about Whoopi Goldberg’s underwear.

NC (voiceover): They try to help Richard out by showing him the ways through the library. But for the most part, they just partake in spewing out book-related puns.

Fantasy: (to Richard) I’m a book, honey. I can read.

Adventure: (to Richard) You fiction or non-fiction?

Fantasy: (to Richard) You know that short story?

Adventure: I’ll let you know, I’m a classic!

Fantasy: A classic misprint.

NC: Hey! If we arrest anybody, we should probably book ‘em! I wonder if Ellen Page is in this movie. Did anybody watch any films with Rex Reed? (Beat) Hey, if the film’s not trying, why should I?

NC (voiceover): So we also find that every time they open a book, creatures, people, and sometimes even locations can pop out of it.

Richard: (opens a book called The Hound of the Baskervilles) Huh?

NC (voiceover): (in a deep voice as a snarling hound pops its head out of the book to snap at Richard) Zuuuuuuul! (Richard throws the book down and runs away before the hound climbs out of the book to pursue him) Zuuuuul!

(Richard and the books try to climb into an empty portion of a shelf)

Richard: Hurry!

NC (voiceover): (impersonating Zuul from Ghostbusters as the hound comes around a corner to jump forth and snap at Richard before Adventure could pull him through the hole in the nick of time) Zuul, motherfucker! ZUUL!*

*(Note: This is the first appearance of NC’s “Zuul, motherfucker! Zuul!” recurring joke)

NC (voiceover): So they escape the dog by entering in the Horror section, where all sorts of nasties await.

Richard: Are we still in the library?

Adventure: Aye, lad. The Horror section.

Richard: It looks pretty scary.

NC: No. You want scary? Stephen King is writing drama again. AHHHH!

NC (voiceover): While they’re in the Horror section, they come across another book, confusingly enough named Horror.

Horror: I’m afraid.

Richard: Of what?

Horror: Of-of… (He makes a scary face and yells) AHHHHH! And… (He acts scared and screams) Ahhhhhh! And (makes another scary face and babbles) BOOOOOO! (NC looks a bit confused to be watching this) And… (screams like a woman) AHHHHHH! (He falls back onto the ground pretending to be dead by holding a white lily in hand)

NC: Horror has a one-man show he’s been working on for a while. You should see it. Support his talent, or lack thereof.

NC (voiceover): So they go inside a mansion where they come across the infamous Dr. Jekyll, played by Leonard Nimoy.

Fantasy: Hello, there, Mister…

Jekyll: Doctor.

NC: (as Jekyll) Doctor Spock.

NC (voiceover): So Jekyll shows them around the mansion and then offers them a martini for some reason.

(Adventure starts to take a drink of the martini until Horror approaches the drink with interest)

Adventure: Stay back! This is a man’s drink! (He starts to take a sip)

Horror: (gets excited) Can I have the olive?

(Horror gets excited and accidentally pushes Adventure, causing the martini to fly across the room and spill onto the wooden floor)

Horror: Uh-oh.

(The spilled drink eats through the floor and creates a hole)

Richard: Whoa.

NC: (as Dr. Jekyll, laughing wholeheartedly) You got me. I was actually trying to give you acid. You see, it turns out I’m quite loopy. (He violently shakes his head briefly as we hear a horse neighing)

NC (voiceover): And then Jekyll drinks the infamous potion—not really explaining why—as he slowly turns into the Incredible Hack!

Fantasy: Dr. Jekyll? Dr. J.?

Mr. Hyde: (his face is covered with both hands) My name is…

NC: (as Hyde, covering his face with both hands) Wait for the reveal…

Mr. Hyde: (reveals his scary face to the camera) Mr. HYDE!!! (Richard and the books react in fright)

NC: Ahh! Who looks like a radioactive…ape…Muppet for some reason.

NC (voiceover): So after explaining NOTHING about the character of Jekyll and Hyde, our four heroes escape to find that the Exit is actually closer than they expected.

Adventure: (takes a deep breath through his nose and sighs) Do you smell it? Breathe it in, mateys!

NC: (as Adventure) I farted! Give it a good whiff, boys! (He takes a big sniff) Mmm, that’s cauliflower!

NC (voiceover): So they find a boat that they use to row their way across the water and finally get out of this fantasy world of annoyance.

Adventure: I wrote the book on sailin’. In fact, I am the book on sailin’!

NC: Books! Books! We like jokes about books!

NC (voiceover): On their way across the water, they come across another famous character of fiction, Captain Ahab.

Captain Ahab: (calls out to Richard and the books) Did you see it?

Richard: (calls back) See what?

Adventure: The devil of the deep. The white whale!

Richard: Hmm?

Adventure: Moby Dick!

(Cut to Ahab appearing normally before the colors on him and the background dramatically shift to mostly red and bits of blue; NC looks puzzled by this color change)

Ahab: (points) Thar she blows!

NC: What the hell? Did Charles Manson suddenly take over the animation?

NC (voiceover): Dude, you guys have to be a little bit more clever about your lighting schemes! I mean, God isn’t just the light man up in the clouds saying…

NC: (as God) Ooh! A dramatic moment! They’re going to need a red gel for that. (He takes out a piece of red transparent paper and prepares to use it)

NC (voiceover): So they spot the sperm whale—that literally looks like the sperm of a whale—as Ahab tries to bring the monster of sea beasts down.

Captain Ahab: Oh, damned that whale! Thus, I give up the spear! (The whale leaps out of the water)

NC (voiceover): (as Ahab) Oh, shit, that did nothing!

(The whale crashes down on Ahab’s boat)

NC (voiceover): So, again, one of the great literary characters is just tossed aside without any acknowledgement about why he’s a great literary character!

NC: Wow! I so wanna read about people I know nothing about and stories that have little to no explanation!

NC (voiceover): So Fantasy and Horror get lost in the commotion as Richard and Adventure are approached by some (speaks like a pirate) scurvy dogs!

Richard: We’re missing two others about his (Adventure) size. Did you see ‘em?

Pirate #1: He’s all the catch we’ve had today.

(Adventure frowns at the two pirates before they both laugh to themselves)

NC: (as the pirates) Yarr! We just laugh at random. Generic villain henchmen just seem to do that. (He laughs wholeheartedly like a pirate)

NC (voiceover): So they take them to the pirate ship where they get to meet the greatest, MEANEST pirate of them all!

Adventure: Long John Silver!

(Pirate #2 laughs)

NC: (as Pirate #2, laughing) It’s a pirate thing.

NC (voiceover): So they’re captured by the dastardly captain and are forced to come with them as they search for treasure on--where else?--Treasure Island.

(The pirate henchmen examine a treasure map of the island with an arrow pointing to the letter “W” and facing to a bunch of trees)

Pirate #1: (holds the treasure map upside down) It’s, uh, in the middle by the waterfall.

Pirate #3: (turns the map sideways) No, it’s east! By some broccoli!

Long John Silver: Give me that! (He takes the map)

Parrot: (sitting on Silver’s shoulder) Broccoli!

Long John Silver: You halfwits! It’s west by a tree!

NC: Couldn’t they get trapped in a Playboy or something?

NC (voiceover): But Fantasy and Horror come to save the day! With no explanation about where they've been or how they survived!

Richard: Boy, I thought you two were goners!

NC: If you replace the word “thought” with the word “hoped.”

NC (voiceover): So there goes another character we've learned nothing about and thus have no interest in reading about. (Pauses) Was that their strategy? Going around to children and simply saying…

NC: Hey, kids! If you think books are boring, just remember: Movies can be boring, too!

NC (voiceover): So they then come across the Fantasy section which, like everything else, is just glanced over. Only this time, there’s a crappy ‘90s song to help us out.

Female Background Singer: There are miracles waiting, so keep concentrating.

NC: How delightfully forgettable.

NC (voiceover): So we come across some famous fantasy characters, like Humpty Dumpty, Mother Goose, some…flying tampons? Oh, they’re fairies! OK. Fairies that look like…the novelty plasma balls you can get at Spencer’s.

NC: (acts a bit puzzled about the fairies) Give them a point for creativity.

NC (voiceover): At last, they come to the Exit. It’s just so close you can practically feel the ending credits roll by. But we still have one last boring obstacle to overcome.

Richard: (stumbles about to hold onto a large piece of rock sticking out) Earthquake!

(A clip from Honey, I Shrunk the Kids is shown.)

Nick Szalinski: No, worse! Lawnmower!

(back to movie)

NC (voiceover): No! It’s a dragon as he threatens to gobble up our protagonist. (The dragon struggles to lift its head up from the ground, and NC sighs) God, even the dragon is boring! Look at him! He barely moves! (The dragon has its neck finally lifted up high with Richard hanging onto its nose, yet the dragon doesn’t move or flinch very much) Do something!


(A clip from Spaceballs is shown.)

President Skroob: (to Dark Helmet) Do something!

Dark Helmet: (to Colonel Sandurz) Do something!

Colonel Sandurz: (speaks into a speaker phone) Do something!

(back to movie.)

NC (voiceover): As they climb the mountain, they come across the skeleton of a knight I just assume couldn’t get through this movie. The three books try to fight off the very slow-moving dragon as Adventure and Fantasy have a very…um…sporadic scene together.

(Cut to Adventure and Fantasy inside a small opening in the mountain)

Adventure: Don’t try to stop me!

Fantasy: Be careful.

Adventure: (is emotionally touched by her concern and looks at her) Hmm.

(Adventure kisses Fantasy on the lips)

NC: Where did that come from? This isn’t the Erotic section!

(Cut to outside the small cave opening)

Adventure: (speaks in lust) How’d you like to…curl up with a good book?

(Fantasy punches Adventure, who flies out of the opening and lands on the ground)

NC: Alright, give them a point for a funny line.

NC (voiceover): But as Adventure has trouble fighting off the dragon, Richard decides to go grave-robbing as he rips the armor off of the dead knight. In fact, I wanna know the knight’s story! What the fuck happened to him? I bet it’s a million times more interesting than this half-assed “Book It!” club. So Richard finally conquers his fears, acknowledges his bravery, and gets eaten alive for it.

(The scene of the dragon swallowing Richard alive is shown)

NC: Wow. That was out of left field. Oh, well, movie over! Ta-ta! (He starts to get up and leave until there is yelling coming from Richard falling down the dragon’s esophagus in its stomach)

NC (voiceover): Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. He’s still alive?! How is that possible?! You’re in the belly of a dragon! You lose!

NC: He should be Kentucky Fried Culkin right now! What the hell am I missing?

NC (voiceover): Alright, so...while in the belly of a dragon, I guess, he comes across some more books because dragons eat books, I guess. I don’t know; it’s almost over. So he opens up “Jack and the Beanstalk” which leads to a giant plant growing out of the dragon’s stomach.

(The dragon starts chomping down on the stalk in hopes of making it fall while Richard rides up it)

NC (voiceover): (as the dragon) See, this is why I should digest my food instead of leaving them alive to plot and scheme.

NC (voiceover): (Normal) So they defeat the dragon—sort of, not really—as they enter the Exit that’ll finally lead Richard back to the real world. And who should be there but the Pagemaster himself. Wait, what?

Richard: I know who he is! He’s the guy who did all this to me!

NC: Yeah!

Richard: Do you have any idea what I’ve been through?

Pagemaster: Tell me.

Richard: I was nearly torn apart by a crazy doctor!

NC: That’s right!

Richard: Not to mention being tossed, squashed and scared practically to death!

NC: Tell that fucker off!

Pagemaster: Think, boy! What kind of an adventure would you have had if I brought you here with the turn of a page?

NC: A very short non-life threatening one!

Pagemaster: If I had brought you here from the start, you never would have found the courage to face your own fears.

NC: Oh! Well! Since you put my life in unspeakable horrors, I guess it’s OK!

Pagemaster: And in doing so, you triumph here and always.

NC (voiceover): Yeah, like his fear of pirates, fear of whales, fear of scientific monsters, you know, all the things he’ll have to battle in real life!

(Richard views through a magic hole to see his live-action self lying on the library floor on his back unconscious)

Richard: Th-That’s me!

Pagemaster: That WAS you!

Richard: I’m ready to go home now.

NC: We all are, kid. We all are.

NC (voiceover): So Richard is returned back to his three-dimensional self—or as close as three-dimensional you can be, being Macaulay Culkin—as it turns out the books seem to come with him as well.

(Mr. Dewey offers Richard a library card and picks up the three books to give to him)

Mr. Dewey: I’m afraid you can only check out two.

Richard: Look, I need…just this once?

Mr. Dewey: Shhhh.

NC: Look, just stop going “Shhhh” OK? Your creep value is already beyond numbers.

Mr. Dewey: Just this once.

(Richard smiles and runs off with the three books; Mr. Dewey watches)

NC (voiceover): (as Mr. Dewey) Mmmm, nice ass.

NC (voiceover): (normal) So Richard forgets all about his statistics and seems a million times braver than he was before, all because of the magic of reading books. Well, now wait a minute! How did he get all those statistics before, anyway? There wasn’t any Internet back then, so obviously he had to read books! What the hell?! He was already a bookworm! Why would you want to convince someone who does too much reading to read even more?

NC: Gah, this movie doesn’t make me want to read! It makes me want to hurt people! The only way I can see this movie making any kid want to read is threatening them to play it again if they don’t!

(Clips from the movie play again as NC speaks)

NC (voiceover): I mean, the idea is nice and at times the animation is impressive, but the movie is just so uninteresting and boringly dull that…I think it would actually scare kids away from reading than it would encourage them.

NC: And the way it glosses over all those famous literary characters, it’s like the movie is as anxious to see itself end as we are to see it end! Well, the only upside to this movie as you may have noticed before is that fortunately, forgetting about it is a very easy task. I’m the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it…usually…so you don’t have to. (He gets up to leave)


Chester A. Bum: This is Chester A. Bum here, and I’m here to tell you about a wonderful card game. The greatest card game I’ve ever seen in my life! “Geek Fight: The Angry Video Game Nerd versus Nostalgia Critic.” Why is it so great? Because I’m on the cards! (Close-up on Chester’s own card) Look at me. Don’t I look beauti-ma-ful? I know what you’re thinking, “How’d you get on the card?” Well, I am! I swear to God! That’s really me! Oh, wait, wait, hold on. (He brings up his white Styrofoam cup to pose for the camera along with his image on the card) You see? And you know that if anything that I’m in has to be good! Like one time, I was living in a box of cereal, and this kid walked by and was like, “What are you doing inside a box of cereal?” And I said, “I’m the prize that comes inside the box!” And the kid was like, “You’re crazy.” And I was like, “So are these cards, man! So are these cards!” You see you like the way if I do it all together? It’s very…yeah. But it’s got other characters, too! Like…(Close-up on the following three cards) The Nostalgi-ma Critic, Ask That-ama Guy, and Angry Video Game-ama Nerd. And of course, ME! I’m on the cards! Just go to (the following web address is shown) “” That’s a long name for a store. They should probably turn that into a web address. I mean, “/Shop”? That’s just bad marketing. And they’re only $7! That’s like… (He counts with his fingers) $7! Or if you don’t want to use $7 on the cards, you can always just give it to me. I swear to you I’m not gonna use it on addictive things like food and shelter. I’m just gonna use it on booze and drugs. I’ve seen too many people lose their lives to food and shelter! That stuff is addictive! I know some people that eat and live under a roof all their life! That’s crazy! Crazy like these cards. See? I know it together again. So go and buy yourself a pack today. And if not, CHANGE! (shakes his cup to the camera) Ya got change? Aw, come on, help a guy out, will ya? Come on, change! (“Only $7 plus shipping" is shown onscreen, followed by the web address again)

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.